Daily Archives: August 5, 2017

Kenyan Elections Observation Group Deploys Technology to Help Monitor ...

NAIROBI � Kenya's Elections Observation Group (ELOG) plans to deploy about 5,000 observers to monitor Tuesday's vote. ELOG also will use Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) to monitor the presidential election.

The Elections Observations Group, (ELOG) which is made up of civil society and faith-based organizations, met Saturday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and said it will deploy about 5,700 election observers. Of those, approximately 1,700 observers also will monitor the elections using Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).

Simon Wanjiru, the PVT Manager at ELOG, says the group is non-partisan, so its election observers will give independent and authentic results. ELOG began monitoring elections in Kenya in 2010.

Wanjiru adds that the system will be used as a monitoring mechanism to flag irregularities.

We want to increase the confidence of the public in the elections and also we want to remove any uncertainties on the people, and they need to believe that now the systems have been done right and we will be able to show if they have been done correctly by the commission, he said.

ELOG officials say PVT works in five steps. In the first stage, observers go to polling stations and verify whether they have network coverage. Once this is verified the second step entails the observer filling out a simulation form and sending it to the data center. This ensures the observer understands the process of reporting via text message or SMS.

The third step involves the message check, where the data base receives the texts and checks for any errors in answering. The fourth step involves the data reporters contacting observers who have not yet reported, and troubleshoots. The fifth and final step includes a data-quality check where errors and inconsistencies are flagged by the database automatically.

Wanjiru says the monitoring group will abide by constitutional mechanisms in a scenario where results are withheld.

It's only the IEBC, [Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission], which is mandated to release the results, but for ELOG we only do the verification so we cannot verify before they have released," he said. "Remember the constitution says the IEBC has to release the results in seven days. In case it goes beyond seven days, we don't just say we are going to release but we will compel, we have a court. And we can use the other CSOs [Civil Society Organizations], who can now help beef up and compel the IEBC to have the results out then we can verify.

Joyce Majiwa, of the Institute for Education in Democracy, (IED) spoke to VOA on the sidelines of the press conference.

According to Majiwa the IED seeks to nurture democracy and good governance in Kenya and Africa. She further notes that the key areas in Tuesday's polls include electoral rules violations, among others. Majiwa adds that the monitoring will improve systems for future elections.

We will make recommendations for future preparedness, we can make recommendations if there are violent areas especially women and girls. We can make recommendations for prosecution. We will have to follow up whether prosecutions are happening, and we will make recommendations to political parties as well.

In 2013, ELOG monitored the elections in Kenya and projected President Uhuru Kenyatta's victory at 49.7 percent, while the official figures from IEBC stood at 50.07 percent.

Kenya is scheduled to vote August 8.

Source: Voice of America

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President ...

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France to explore how to increase cooperation in addressing the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq and countering Iranian malign influence. They also talked about forging a political resolution in Libya and countering terrorist activity in the Sahel region of Africa. They agreed that the Maduro regime in Venezuela must restore the rights of the Venezuelan people and reaffirmed the importance of all sides implementing the Minsk agreements to reach a peaceful settlement in Ukraine. Finally, they discussed mutual interests regarding North Korea.

Source: White House


PRETORIA, Aug 5 (NNN-SABC) -- South African President Jacob Zuma leaves here Saturday for a one-day visit to Lusaka to drum up support for improved relations with Zambia and also to engage in talks about that country's political situation.

During the visit, he will also officially open this year's Zambian Agricultural and Commercial Show.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union states have an agreement to urgently improve trade among member state countries. Since some are in recession, it is essential that the region finds ways to expand intra-Africa trade.

The Zambian Agricultural show is one way of doing so. The South African High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Zambia, Sikose Mji, says: "Two weeks ago we had a trade mission of more than 20 companies here in Lusaka and some of the discussions, as always, centred on South Africa's trade balance."

Locals are also of the view that intra-African trade can play a major role in making them realise their objectives and growing their businesses.

President Zuma is also expected to hold talks with Zambian President Jonathan Lungu on the current political situation in Zambia which has seen opposition leader Hakainde Hichelema languishing in jail since April for blocking a presidential motorcade.

With South Africa taking over the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- a 15-national sub-regional bloc which includes Zambia -- later in August, efforts to facilitate peace in the region are paramount. "Speaking of a possible discussion of the current situation when the two leaders hold a one to one meeting," says the ambassador

In accepting South Africa's role as host of this year's SADC summit, President Zuma said the country was ready to take over from Swaziland as Chair of the SADC.


President Zuma arrives in Zambia for the Agricultural and Commercial ...

President Jacob Zuma has this morning, 05 August 2017 arrived in Lusaka, in the Republic of Zambia, for his working visit to officially open the 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show as a Guest of Honour, at the invitation of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu of Zambia.

This show is organised under the theme 'The Promotion of a Green Economy'.

South Africa and Zambia have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.

The two countries have signed twenty one (21) Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the past years. A Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in the field of agriculture, which enables the two countries to share agricultural development experiences, capacity building and skills development programmes amongst other areas of cooperation is amongst the MoU's signed.

President Zuma is accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa


PRETORIA, Aug 5 (NNN-SA NEWS) -- The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has urged South African consumers not to obtain loans from illegal credit providers which retain their bank cards as a method of debt collection.

Consumers are warned not to enter into loans with credit providers that use unlawful collection methods such as the retention of bank and South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) cards, as well as the retention of identity documents. Further, consumers are urged to only enter into loans with registered credit providers, NCR spokesperson Lebogang Selibi said Thursday.

The warning came as the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) heard a case between the NCR and Hua Xiang Cash Loans CC (Hua Xiang), a registered credit provider operating in Makhado and Malelane. At the hearing on 27 July 2017, the National Credit Regulator argued that Hua Xiang was in contravention of the provisions of the National Credit Act, 34 of 2005, as amended.

The National Credit Tribunal made an order whereby the registration of Hua Xiang was cancelled, with immediate effect.

The NCT -- which is an independent adjudicative entity -- found that the nature of the contraventions were so severe and of so serious a nature that it warranted the immediate cancellation of the registration of Hua Xiang, whose contraventions included failure to conduct proper affordability assessments, failure to provide consumers with pre-agreement statements and quotations

Other contraventions included failure to furnish consumers with credit agreements in the prescribed form; the charging of an interest rate in excess of the imposed limit; and the use of prohibited collection and enforcement actions.

The National Consumer Tribunal derives its mandate from the National Credit Act and as such, hears all sides of a case before making a decision. A decision by the Tribunal has the same status as one made by a High Court.

Meanwhile, the NCR will continue to conduct industry-wide investigations on credit providers who use prohibited collection and enforcement methods. Earlier this week the NCR announced that 11 people had been arrested in a joint operation to curb fraud and illegal retention of SASSA cards between the NCR, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and SASSA.

The National Consumer Tribunal and the National Credit Regulator -- which is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry -- are entities of the Department of Trade and Industry.